New York, NY, October 5, 2012 - As seen in this report from CBS 2 New York ... No one knew how bad it was going to be when Hurricane Irene barreled up the East Coast a year ago, flooding whole towns, destroying homes. Up and down the East Coast, Irene caused residents billions of dollars. Experts agree that weather is becoming more severe and they warn that we're not ready for it.
Jonathan Gaska is the Community Board President in Rockaway. It's a low-lying area of Queens that he says could go under in the next big storm. "You're going to have people trapped in the big buildings because there's going to be no electric. It could be an utter disaster." He says the City is not doing enough. "If there's a sense of urgency, certainly we haven't seen it."
"There are 2 to 3 million people at risk." Stony Brook University Professor Malcolm Bowman agrees. He says it's time to take bold action. "This could be an ideal location to build a barrier." Bowman thinks this could be the solution - gates in New York's Harbor. He showed us the animation that lays out his vision - three multi-billion dollar barriers he says could save the region from disaster.
Here's how they work: During a storm, watch as the massive gates along the barrier drop down, blocking powerful underwater currents. Another gate then swings shut, forming a solid barrier shore to shore. "And the City behind us is protected."
But City officials say there's no need to panic. Danger is not imminent. And they do have a plan. "I would put New York's record up against any city or state government." NYC Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway says the City is taking aggressive action, from shoring up wetlands to spending millions to physically lift up facilities out
of harms way. "Those are the kinds of incremental investments that we are making and that I think is the right approach."
At the close of this report, CBS 2 New York's Maurice DuBois cites that "The barriers can cost between $5-10 billion a piece and take up to 10 years to build."